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What Is A Smog Checkpoint? Smog Check Stations

smog checkpointsDUI is the popular acronym for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicating Chemicals. There are, as you may have heard, random DUI Checkpoints that check drivers to ensure compliance with driving and drinking laws. Imagine though, a slightly different acronym – DWD or Driving While Dirty. Although that is not a real legal term, the basic concept is very real.

In 1966, California Vehicle Code 2814 established the Smog Inspection Sticker. Each car was required to pull into an inspection station for a brief smog check from a qualified member of the California Highway Patrol. After passing the inspection, a sticker was provided and placed at a conspicuous place on the car’s windshield.

sidebar_300x300This system, although functional, was a burden for the California Highway Patrol. In 1996, California transitioned to a system where vehicle registration was tied to a bi-annual smog check at certified Smog Check Stations. Today, these stations are networked directly with the California DMV to allow instantaneous inspection results to be placed into your car’s registration file.

With any complicated automated system, mistakes can be made and people with enough ingenuity can find a way around smog laws. So, California decided that 1966 was not such a bad year after all. In 2002, the California Health and Safety Code Section 44081 was enacted. This new law allows the California Highway Patrol and local police agencies to randomly inspect vehicles to ensure compliance with smog laws.

This created the random Smog Check point. Or, what may be called the DWD Stop. If you are stopped at one of these checkpoints, you are required to cooperate in the same way as a DUI checkpoint. By accepting a California Driver’s License and a California Vehicle Registration, you have given implied permission for this type of inspection. Just smile, do what you are told and the probe won’t hurt at all.


To receive FREE updates of Smog Checkpoints in your area text the word, NODUI to the number, 51515.

If you have an Android device download the FREE MrCheckpoint app click here -> DUI Checkpoint app

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